Hockey

San Jose Sharks Season Preview

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The San Jose Sharks have had some great teams in the past, but have yet to find themselves as hoisters of the fabled Cup. In fact, San Jose Sharks fans must think that the Cup is nothing more than a myth at this point. The Sharks have regularly had some of the most talented teams in the NHL.

The pendulum might be starting to swing the other way. There’s plenty of drama in the San Jose locker room, as rumors have been swirling around about both Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane. When you mix the possible loss of huge stars, aging defenders, and no solution at the goalie position, it’s easy to see how the San Jose Sharks might be in danger of missing the postseason.

The Offense

First Line

LW: Evander Kane C: Logan Couture RW: Kevin LaBanc

Second Line

LW: Timo Meier C: Tomas Hertl RW: Alexander Barabanov

Third Line

LW: John Leonard C: Nick Bonino RW: Rudolfs Balcers

Fourth Line

LW: Andrew Cogliano C: Dylan Gambrell RW: Matthew Nieto

If nothing comes of the allegations that Evander Kane was betting against his own team and trying to throw games, then San Jose’s top line should be a force to reckon with. Of course, there’s been plenty of talk that even the allegations have royally pissed off his teammates. As for Logan Couture, he’s a boss during the regular season, but when it comes to playoff hockey, he is legendary.

The second line ought to be every bit as dangerous as the top line for the San Jose Sharks. That, of course, is going on the assumption that Tomas Hertl stays in San Jose. It seems as if Hertl is staying put for now, but rumor has it that the New York Rangers are very interested, and very willing, to be aggressive with their interest.

The third line for the Sharks isn’t pretty, but it’s tough. The San Jose Sharks really like what Balcers brings to the table, extending him for two years over the off-season. Having a Cup-winning, proven center-man like Nick Bonino makes this a formidable third line.

The San Jose Sharks will run out a solid fourth line, being bolstered by the offseason addition of the two-way winger Andrew Cogliano.

The Backend

First Pair

LD: Mario Ferraro RD: Brent Burns

Second Pair

LD: Nikolai Knyzhov RD: Erik Karlsson

Third Pair

LD: Radim Simek RD: Marc-Edouard Vlasic

The San Jose Sharks are hoping that Burns is still a Norris level defender, and they are going to need him to be considering the uncertainty at goalie.

Nikolai Knyzhov is a waking nightmare for the likes of Lazlo Holmes. Erik Karlsson used to be a waking nightmare for NHL opposition. Can he get back to his Norris Trophy level of play?

Marc-Edouard Vlasic rounds out what should be one of the best defensive groups in the entire NHL. If all three pairings live up to their potential, it could mitigate quite a few concerns about the goalie situation.

It would make sense that James Reimer would get first crack at being San Jose’s number one goalie considering that he has more experience than backup Adin Hill. Hill is a 25 year old who has played well in the minors, but certainly isn’t projected to be an everyday tender.

With so much uncertainty at the beginning of the season, it’s impossible to know how things are going to play out for the Sharks in 2021-2022. If all goes well, they could be top dogs in the suddenly not-so-scary west. If things don’t go so well, that championship window might finally be slammed shut.

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